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8 Steps to Mastering Virtual Meetings

By Posted on 0 Comments 4 min read 82 views

Working from home means virtual meetings. These days, with platforms like Zoom enabling conferences, seminars, office hours, even lecture all online, knowing how to successfully attend virtual meetings is more important than ever.

Regardless of whether you’re a student or a full-time company executive, preparation for an excellent virtual meeting is the same. Keep reading for some pointers that will help you understand how to conquer your virtual meetings. 

1. Wear appropriate attire from the waist up.

One of the benefits of #WFH is that we can get away with wearing sweatpants during a work meeting, class, or whatever it may be. (Of course, don’t make the mistake of standing up and revealing this secret to others.)

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the top half of our bodies. If you’re in a more formal meeting, try wearing a polished, proper top, blouse, or sweater. That’ll give off the impression that you’re serious about the meeting, despite it being online.

Pro-tip: collared necklines and blazers look great on Zoom.

2. Apply some light mascara, lip gloss, and powder/concealer.

Of course, these things are optional – but recommended. With the camera’s focus on your face and neck, a little makeup and jewelry will go a long way towards making you appear more polished and put-together. Now, the key is that less is more.

I’m not advocating for a full face of foundation, contour, eyeshadow, red lipstick, and winged eyeliner for these virtual meetings. After all, you don’t want it to look like you’re wearing makeup at all.

Pro-tip: keep the makeup low-key.

3. Know how to work the virtual platform.

This means figuring out all the tech stuff before the meeting begins. If you don’t know how to mute your microphone, turn off your camera, share your screen, etc., spend a few extra minutes sorting out these details so that your meeting can go as smoothly as possible.

Pro-tip: always mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking.

4. Look at the camera to make “eye-contact.”

It’s well known that eye contact is fantastic for the psyche. Good eye contact equates to confidence, trust, engagement, curiosity, respect for yourself and the other person. Since we’re all looking at a screen these days, the new way to make eye contact is to look at the camera.

According to Business Insider, “whether or not other people make eye contact with us changes the way that we think about them and their feelings. For example, we are more likely to remember faces with which we’ve experienced mutual gaze, and we consider displays of anger and joy to be more intense when shown by a person making eye contact.” 

Pro-tip: hide your “self-view” if you tend to look at yourself and not at the camera.

5. Be mindful of your facial expressions.

Virtual meetings are not the time for RBF. As I’ve stated before, the focus is all on your face with these virtual meetings. Be extra aware of the facial expressions you’re displaying. If you feel bored or uninterested, it will show unless you make it a point to look otherwise. 

Pro-tip: nod now and then, and smile periodically. You may be engaged, and you may be in a pleasant mood, but it’s harder to tell when we’re all behind the screen. Show this with your facial movements and gestures!

6. Prepare your background, lighting, and surroundings.

Unfortunately, there is no point in following steps 1-5 above if your background is sloppy. With virtual meetings, one needs to pay careful attention to their environment. Are you revealing an unmade bed? A pile of laundry off to the side? The sound of your kids’ playing with Legos behind you (cute, but not professional)?

If so, do what you have to do to make the setting as non-distracting and professional as possible. The best setup is generally a simple (white) wall next to a window. That way, you’ll get natural lighting from the sun, and your background will not distract from your face.

Lastly, gently remind anyone in the proximity of your upcoming meeting and to keep their noise level as low as possible. (Perhaps it’s worth investing in noise-proof earbuds if you find yourself unable to hear the discussion clearly due to your environment.)

Pro-tip: if you are stuck with a messy background, try using a high-quality virtual background instead.

7. Get enough sleep.

Eye bags are a natural part of life, but the best treatment to feel and look well-rested is sleep! People are different, but most generally require 6 to 9 hours of quality sleep. Make sure to hit the hay early enough the night before your meeting so you can showcase your best self – physically and mentally. Your body will thank you! 

Pro-tip: check out this article on self-care.

8. Be present.

Try refraining from browsing Pinterest, scrolling on Tumblr, or taking any Buzzfeed quizzes during your virtual meeting. I repeat: try NOT to take these insanely awesome quizzes while you’re in your discussion (:P). In all seriousness, it really can wait until after the meeting is over.

Not only is it self-evident when someone’s on Facebook instead of giving their full attention to the meeting, but it’s also not a great look. As harmless as it may be, it can come off as offensive or rude to whoever is speaking at that moment, as well as to your fellow virtual attendees.

Pro-tip: keep your phone away from you if you don’t need it for the meeting, and avoid opening up Safari or Google Chrome in the first place

If you got this far, you’re definitely on the right track for having the most smooth, productive, and respectful virtual meetings. I wish you the best of luck with all of your endeavors, and remember to stay safe and healthy while working from home. We’re all in this together!

Thoughts or comments? Leave them down below!

For similar articles, check out this page.

Your COVID-Friendly Guide to Laguna Beach, CA

By Posted on 0 Comments 2 min read 23 views

If you are in Southern California and looking for a quick, COVID-19 friendly weekend away, definitely consider visiting Laguna Beach.

With ample accommodation options and take-out restaurants, Laguna Beach has many COVID-19 nice things to offer during these stressful times.

Me ft. yoga mat

Because the time I spent there recently (while following WHO & CDC protocols) proved to be incredibly refreshing, I’ve listed a few key activities to do there when you get the chance.

Keep reading if you’re interested.

Walk Up Alta Laguna.

With most workout facilities closed these days, it’s a good idea to get some exercise outdoors. What better way to do so than on a scenic incline walk? Although this walk is gorgeous at any time of day, I recommend going in the morning before it gets too hot. Of course, don’t forget your sunscreen, mask, and hand sanitizer.

Pick Up a “Date Shake” at The Stand.

The Stand is a delicious, 100% vegan natural foods restaurant. Because of this, you’re bound to find something delicious that accommodates any diet, feeling satisfied and refreshed. (My BF thoroughly enjoys the Date Shake and the avocado sandwich.)

Visit the Art Galleries.

The artist hub of Orange County, Laguna Beach, has so many art galleries that it is impossible to run out of beautiful sights to see. A few of my favorite galleries are located on South Coast Highway.

Go Hiking at Top of the World.

Confetti?

With more than 20,000 acres of protected wilderness, Laguna Beach is perfect for adventurous exploration. I recently completed the Top of the World hike with my BF, and it was an awesome feel-good and socially-distanced 2.4-miles.

Eat a Banzai Bowl.

Born and raised in LA, I thought I had tried the worst and the best of acai bowls. I was wrong. The Maui Sunrise bowl from Banzai is, hands-down, the BEST acai bowl I’ve ever eaten. I do not say this lightly.

Walk on the Beach.

This is a self-explanatory and mandatory activity. Be sure to wear sunscreen, and enjoy basking in the vitamin D. (FYI: I wore a mask for this walk. I took it off for these photos.)

Enjoy the Sunsets.

If you’re anything like me, you never fail to enjoy a beautiful sunset. It’s time to pour yourself a glass of Sangria & listen to some great music.

And so there you have it! Some suggestions to keep in mind for your next trip to Laguna Beach, CA, during this COVID-19 season. Remember to wear a mask and wash your hands. Stay safe & bon voyage!

For more travel guides, check out this page.

Girl Boss Extraordinaire: Rupi Kaur

By Posted on 3 Comments 1 min read 60 views

Rupi Kaur is shaking the world of poetry. Although she might not be for everyone, she doesn’t claim or try to be – I love that. Whether you enjoy her poems or not, you’ve got to admit you’d never read anything like it before. Like a breath of fresh air, her art combines visuals and rhythm in a simplicity that rejuvenates our minds.

outlook – milk and honey

Ever since reading milk and honey, I was personally blown away by the amount of wisdom and magic in such a tiny poetry book. By the time I reached the last page, I was in love with Rupi’s writing style, life outlook, and strength. And couldn’t wait for more of her poems.

At just 21, Kaur has already published three poetry books that use repetition, consonance, and alliteration to stunning effect. She understands on a visceral level something elegant about the shapes of letters, making our ubiquitous Times New Roman font surprising again by playing with its roundness, its potential for contrast. It is no surprise that each of her books has earned New York Times Bestseller notoriety.

So, it is with overwhelming admiration for her genius that I share some of my favorite poems of hers with you readers today. Enjoy!

I know, right? I want more too.

Thanks, Rupi,

For more #GirlBoss, check out this article.

4 Proven Methods For Staying Sane In Lockdown

By Posted on 0 Comments 3 min read 21 views

As COVID-19 continues to favor staying home, those in relationships must navigate even more unfamiliar territory: lockdown, aka, 24/7 with our S/O. This shift in dynamic means that both partners must work extra hard to preserve the fruits of the relationship and be extra mindful of staying sane.

If this lockdown has you feeling overwhelmed with emotion- that’s okay. Expected, even. I’m writing this article today to reassure you that your relationship CAN and WILL make it through this terrible time if you both want it to.

Because this lockdown can be stressful for couples living together, keep reading for some great advice to keep your relationship healthy.

1. Remember to have gratitude. 

Before you complain about sh*t, check yourself, sis!

You gotta realize how fortunate you are in getting to go through this challenging time with your S/O. Never lose sight of that fact.

Many people are going through this time alone and would trade places with you in an instant. In doing so, you are actively taking the first step in preserving your relationship and not thinking anything but thankful thoughts. 

2. Give your partner some space. 

In doing so, you’re giving yourself some space as well. Maintaining some degree of latitude is critical during this time – since time to ourselves allows us to rest and recharge, we can give our best to the people around us.

With this time, you can enjoy one of your favorite hobbies (or get into a new one!). Use this time constructively – either for some self-care or to start learning something you’ve always wanted to.

You’ll need to think outside the box: the window, the garden, kitchen, bathroom counter, or even a corner will do. This space will benefit your relationship because it will make you a much more agreeable and more pleasant person to be around.

Taking care of yourself first is going to allow you to take better care of your partner.

3. Dress it up once in a while.

Who doesn’t like to dress up and feel glamorous once in a while? Just because restaurants are closed doesn’t mean you can’t still dress up and spark a lil’ romantic setting for each other. So, throw on your fave heels and skirt, have your partner dress up too.

Both of you can enjoy a home-cooked meal together with some music and candles. This activity is great to do once in a while, as an excellent (albeit superficial) reminder of how sexy your partner is.

4. Get hooked on a new show/movie together.

This activity is an entertaining one that you both can do collectively, perhaps at the end of a long day or on the weekend. You can spend quality time together invested in a great show, and watch a few episodes a week.

It will be something with which you both can escape the COVID-19 reality and dive into a genre of your choice. For some excellent TV show recommendations, check out this article. (If you don’t watch TV, how about a podcast? Audiobook?)

Ultimately, I hope you find these tips as useful as I have. I wish you the best of luck with your relationship and your endeavors! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment below.

🚨⚠️ COVID-19 RESOURCES:

22 Life-Lessons I’m Still Learning at 22

By Posted on 0 Comments 2 min read 94 views

At 22 years old, I believe I underwent sufficient life-experience to share some of my wisdom with you all. Some people go their whole lives without genuinely understanding these things, thus compromising their ability to become their true selves. I am aware of these lessons, but truthfully, I don’t always act according to them. Still, the wisdom is worth sharing, so here we are. Whatever age you are, these tips will either serve as reminders or enlighten.

So without further ado, here are 22 life lessons I’ve gathered thus far.

1. Prioritizing your well-being is not selfish.

2. Canceling plans is never a good look.

3. Proper email etiquette is hugely underrated.

4. Respond to texts & emails promptly.

5. Always send a thank-you note.

6. Never show up to an invite empty-handed (bring drinks/snacks for the party, a card for the host, whatever it is).

7. Feeling anxious at times is okay. Accept it.

8. Start the day slow, calm, & collected.

9. Every relationship, romantic or not, takes effort.

10. Listen to understand, not to respond.

11. Always remind your parents how much you appreciate them.

12. Nicotine really is addictive.

13. Never depend on or seek out outside validation. It’s always better to be confident from the inside outward.

14. Learn about finance management sooner rather than later.

15. Books are timeless. Keep reading.

16. Be consistent with a skincare & fitness routine.

17. Stop feeling insecure. It’s all in your head.

18. Either they like you, or they don’t. It’s not your problem.

19. Work hard now; put aside short-term enjoyment to focus on long-term goals.

20. It’s okay not to have everything figured out.

21. Use less heat on your hair; your 6-month-from-now self will thank you.

22. Everything in moderation.

That’s all that came to mind at the moment. I hope you enjoyed this post and gained some wisdom as well.

For some great quotes, check out this article.